Background

To parents and caregivers -
Do you experience a nightly battle with your primary school student to get him to complete his home reading for school? Does the teacher point out to you at the parent/teacher/student interview that little Johnny hardly ever has any home reading recorded in his Reading Diary?
If your answer is 'Yes', then this reading guide could be your salvation!
 
Providing boys with interactive books and interactive reading resources is a great way to engage the reluctant reader. There are two types of reluctant reader; the first type have the ability to read, but are far more interested in spending their time doing alternative activities. The second type have difficulty with grasping the concept of reading, so therefore avoid something that is not giving them success and a positive view of themselves. (Dayton-Sakari & Jobe, 2003)
 
The first years of primary school are a crucial time for children to begin to perceive themselves as readers and enjoy being engaged with the reading resources provided. This reading list aims to cater for Year 3 - 6 boys at a primary reading level when they are expected to have become more independent with their reading, but for some reason show little interest in honing their reading skills. Dayton-Sakari and Jobe (2003) have found that most reluctant readers are interested in information/nonfiction books rather than the story/narratives used in most reading instruction. Therefore, I will attempt to include the majority of titles in this reading list as those which tap into the interests of these boys and are more information oriented rather than fiction oriented. I hope to provide highly visual books with only short snippets of text with varying typefaces and sizes, but showcase detailed illustrations and colourful, crisp photographs. Formats other than the traditional hardcopy print book which are offered in this reading list, aim to engage the reluctant reader by nurturing the willingness and promoting the enthusiasm to give reading a go.
 
Users of apps can discover solutions to problems and challenges. They can obtain immediate rewards for attempting new endeavours. Apps can be viewed as creative educational tools and provide a learning environment which is fun and enjoyable for the student. Reluctant readers are given an achievable purpose to pursue their reading if they wish to discover answers to questions or puzzles. Instead of being a personal struggle for the student, reading can become a positive and rewarding experience. This new found confidence may be transferred into reading for enjoyment and improved literacy. (D, J.M, 2005, p. 28)
 
Educators appreciate the value of audiobooks as a literacy tool. If accompanied by a hard print copy, they provide reinforcement of the printed word and an entertaining way to introduce and enjoy literature. Narration of the book can create a new experience, offering listeners something they could not create by their own visual reading. The narrator can achieve an outstanding performance in terms of voice, accents, pitch, tone, inflection, rhythm, and pace. While listening, children are still being exposed to language and literature. Reluctant readers can enjoy the experience of a book without the heartache and frustration of being stuck on a word. Audiobooks can also assist the reader to become phonetically aware and learn how to pronounce and understand new words. (Maughan, 2004, p.37) 
 
These electronic resources can combine text with sound, animation, and images whilst highlighting the text that is read aloud. This form of reading can help overcome children's reading difficulties and motivational issues and increase the engagement of reluctant readers. The visual display of words help readers understand vocabulary, the text can be repeated and the words read again, the animation and sound contributes to an understanding of the meaning. They are able to have the opportunity to adapt the content to their own learning style, whether that be visual, auditory or kinaesthetic. (Morgan, 2013, pp. 477-478)
 
 
When a child reads a graphic novel, they do not realise that they are demonstrating many essential literacy skills. These skills include: the ability to understand a sequence of events, interpret characters' nonverbal gestures, decode the story's plot, and formulate inferences. The graphic elements assist visually dependent readers and they are required to absorb the print and art through a series of panels, word balloons, and captions. These elements unpack the novel's characters, setting, plot, and action. Graphic novels can help the boys who are reluctant readers to engage in the mechanics of reading a book, even if there is no text involved. The reader is able to create the dialogue and story based on the pictures. (Lyga, 2006, p.56)
 
Children have been absorbing information visually since birth and are natural visual learners. Our culture is largely text-based, but everyday we encounter visual information. There is merit in a child being able to be an effective user and generator of visual information as well as textual information. Children can be taught to read visual information and textual information similarly. (Cooper, 2008, pp. 15-19)
This type of book provides the reluctant reader with an opportunity to analyse visual material in association with simple text and communicate their findings through conversation.
 
These books provide a format which is interactive and paper engineered. They use rivets, flaps, tabs, folds, and cut paper to become mechanical and movable books which unfold and rise up from the page to perform before the reader's eyes. Although the genesis of the format can be traced back to the sixteenth century, the World Wide Web (WWW) is not seen as a competing medium to these books, but rather as a facilitator in linking fans, authors and artists of pop-up books; as well as libraries and the commercial producers.
Parents can find that this is a way of sharing reading with their child which is fun and promotes interactivity whilst involving listening and encouraging imagination. (Rhonda & Nancy, 2003, pp. 21-29).
The reluctant reader can feel engaged with this format without feeling the need to read every word, but using improvisation instead.
 
Please enjoy this reading guide with your student!
 
References
Cooper, L. Z. (2008). Supporting visual literacy in the school library media center: Developmental, socio-cultural, and experiential considerations and scenarios. Knowledge Quest, 36(3), 14-19.
 
D, J.M. (2005). "Gaming Is a Powerful Teaching and Learning Strategy", School Library Media Activities Monthly, vol. 22, no. 3, pp. 28-29.
 
 
Dayton-Sakari, M., & Jobe, R. (2003). Reluctant readers choose nonfiction: Just give me the facts! Bookbird, 41(1), 21-27. 
 
Lyga, A. (2006). Graphic novels for (really) young readers. School Library Journal, 52(3), 56-59.
 
 Maughan, S. (2004). Summer listening 101. Publishers Weekly, 251(24), 37.
 

Morgan, H. (2013). Multimodal children's E-books help young learners in reading. Early Childhood Education Journal, 41(6), 477-483. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10643-013-0575-8

 

Rhonda, H. T., & Nancy, L. B. (2003). Pop-up books: An introductory guide. Collection Building, 22(1), 21-32.